Destroyed by super typhoon ‘Yolanda’
TACLOBAN CITY – The restoration works of the centuries old La Immaculada Concepcion Church in Guiuan, Eastern Samar will be completed this month.
This was announced by the National Mauseum of the Philippines(NMP) which supervised the restoration works of the 18th century church which sustained major damages when Guiuan was pummeled by super typhoon ‘Yolanda’ in November 8,2013.
The NMP allocated P111.99 million for the repair work while the United States through its embassy in the country donated $300,000.
The Baroque-style Guiuan Church is famous for its extensive shell ornamentation.
The NMP said that the La Immaculada Concepcion Church will be turned over to the local parish after they conduct their inspection to the church which is considered to be a national cultural treasure.
The said church was earlier nominated as national heritage along with other churches in the country like the Baclayon Church in Bohol but was dropped in the roster after it was destroyed by Yolanda.
“We also collaborated with the Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation of the University of Melbourne to help us form decisions regarding treatment of some of the moveable heritage,” NMP said.
It was learned that local artisans led by Guy Custodio was also commissioned by NMP to help them on this restoration works like the wood fabrication, painting and gold leafing of the church’s ceiling and its main and side altars.
Prior to the restoration work, the team from NMP had carefully documented the church original altar, ceiling, elaborate carvings especially the door and building.
They also conducted a 3D scanning for reverse engineering to study the construction and the fabric weaknesses of the church even before Yolanda.
La Immaculada Church in Guiuan was built by the Jesuit Missionaries in 18th century and was later taken over by the Franciscan Friars.
The church complex is a fortress that is usual design of old church built during Spanish Era that serves as protection and haven during raid of Moro pirates.
Numerous parts of the church interior are decorated with seashells. It is unique in the country. The church still has its original front door, retablos, statues, and other church artifacts. The walls are made of coral stone.
(ROEL T. AMAZONA)